Business Magazine

Empowering Place and Good Business: BALLE Conference 2011

Posted on the 03 August 2011 by Blab

Empowering Place and Good Business: BALLE Conference 2011

“I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him,” quoted Michelle Long of President Abraham Lincoln in her opening address to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) conference in June. Energetic and captivating, Long set the tone for a lively and empowering conference which demonstrated the growing force of a better way to do business.

So what is BALLE? The BALLE movement calls for all parts of the economy to come together locally so it may thrive in a way that benefits people and the planet. As Andy Shallal of Busboys and Poets (a Certified B Corp) explains, “Small businesses need to have an advantage because they bring so much more to the community.” Small businesses provide local jobs, are connected to the community, and often help keep revenue within the area. Most of us recall that record store, coffee shop or mom and pop store that listened directly to their customers, supported local suppliers, and held functions to bring the community together. The BALLE movement works to keep them in business and to help them become ‘better’. That’s where the B Impact Assessment comes in!

But how can the B Impact Assessment help local businesses? Leanne Krueger-Braneky, of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) of Philadelphia (a BALLE chapter), spoke at a breakout session about their work with B Lab. SBN uses the B Impact Assessment to help member businesses look at their social and environmental performance. All new members must take the assessment to discover what they’re doing well and how they can become a more sustainable business. Using the B Impact Assessment as a resource, organizations like SBN and other BALLE chapters across the country are able to give small, local businesses the support Shallal calls for.

Empowering Place and Good Business: BALLE Conference 2011

Christina Bianco and Wynne Lewis of B Lab enjoy the BALLE Parade

Some companies have already put the BALLE movement and B Lab’s resources to good use. TS Designs, Salt Spring Coffee, Singlebrook Technology, Katovich Law, Busboys and Poets, Provoc (formerly Joint Concepts), Andy Smith Photography, BetterWorld Telecom, RSF Capital Management, SAVA Fashion, Renewal2, BBMG, and Webcollective are just some of the B Corps who came together at the conference. These companies formed a vibrant contingent that represented a triple bottom line economy well. In fact, as one business owner explained at a breakout session, he “gives preference to B Corporations because they are dependably committed”.

Stories, like SBN’s use of the B Impact Assessment and the small business owner’s experience with B Corps, are just a few of those shared at the BALLE conference. These good business relationships are the future we seek. Lincoln’s words are living strong today at the heart of this movement. From the hard work of the BALLE community, people are once again proud of their communities, and those communities are proud of them.

To learn more about the conference check out BALLE’s conference site.

Special thanks to Sustainable Connections the Bellingham co-hosts of this year’s BALLE conference.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog